Senior Send-Off: Kristian writes to Westland Hialeah Senior High

In 2016, I took my first steps as a Wildcat. I had expected a lot of hoopla about Westland; red and black everywhere; anything and everything Wildcat related, you name it, I figured they had it. But what I sure didn’t anticipate was an overwhelming, gigantic wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling poster of the inside of a T-Rex’s mouth. Talk about intimidating. I clearly remember thinking, “Wow, how EXTRA is this?”

During my freshmen and sophomore year, I was a common student. I would wake up, go to class, go home, sleep, and repeat. Here and there, I would stay after school to say I was doing something. You know, an active member. It wasn’t until my junior year when the pressures of extracurriculars and academics knocked me out. I started experiencing high school as a whole. My schedule started filling up with meetings, events, and responsibilities. It was something unusual, but I was fascinated. This newfound passion flourished at an infectious speed, pumping red and black through my veins, prompting me to take the biggest leap and run for SGA President. 

May 2019 was a turning point for me. With various new responsibilities, I found myself overwhelmed. However, soon I learned, that one way or another, all the dots will connect and show us exactly where we need to be. 

From now on, our journeys will take different directions, but we will always be united by our alma mater. The friendships we have fostered, the laughs we have shared, the struggles we have endured, and the lessons we have learned, have molded us into the individuals we are today. Westland has seen us as the vulnerable, young freshies who believed in the existence of a pool on the fifth floor, to the experienced seniors we are today.

The legacy that you, Class of 2020, will leave behind is one that will never be forgotten. We are now part of a long list of memories shared by the Wildcats who walked the hallways before us. We have held traditions that will not only be a part of our life, but a part of our school’s history for years to come. In one way or another, we have all left our marks and continue to be Westland, a family like no other. 

The resilience and unity we have shown, despite unprecedented events, is admirable, however, not surprising. Wildcats are known for persevering when hope seems dim; for going the extra mile, emphasizing small details, and just being extraordinary. As we part ways, I ask for you to always remember the tears of joy we spilled on every dance floor at the end of every event as we came together and sang, We Are Young. The memories we have forged in the last four years will stay with us for the rest our lives. At the end of the day, when our chapter closes, we will look back at them fondly and remember, “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”

Kristian Carreno

Westland Hialeah Senior High